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Selling a Blog – Interview with Duncan Riley from Blog Herald

Posted By Darren Rowse 17th of January 2006 Pro Blogger Interviews 0 Comments

BlogheraldBig in blog news this week is the sale of BlogHerald (no official word that it’s sold yet but it looks like final negotiations are taking place). The price is said to be in excess of over $72,000 (USD). BlogHerald’s owner is Duncan Riley (a partner of mine at b5media) so I shot him a request for an interview as the subject is so relevant to this blog.

Having never sold a blog of my own I’m fascinated by the process and so started by asking Duncan:

Why are you Selling BlogHerald?
A number of reasons. Firstly Ive identified that there is now a perception that I have a conflict of interesting writing about blog networks when I’m an owner of one. Whether this is fair or not I guess doesn’t come into it because the perception is there, despite me having written the blog for 3 years. Also becoming a full time Problogger back in December means I can always do with the money :-) The capital from the sale will fund my mortgage for atleast the next 12 months and allow me to finish off my house whilst building up income from other blogs and from b5media.

One of the biggest topics of discussion around this sale is regarding the ‘secrecy’ and the strategy of not publically announcing the name of the blog being sold – Why did you do it this way? What were the pros and cons of this move in retrospect?

I don’t think it was so much a secret: certainly those who asked for the information from Jeremy (who were interested in bidding) where provided the details commercial in confidence. Although there has naturally been a fair bit of talk about the sale imagine how much more there would have been if The Blog Herald had been named from day one? Basically I didn’t want a circus around the sale, and from a marketing perspective I believe a full public sale may have been detrimental to the brand.

Why did you use a broker (Jeremy) in this case and has it been worthwhile doing so?
Jeremy’s got the runs on the board as far as blog sales go, and for memory I think he was the first person to have ever sold a blog as well (a few years ago with Ensight). He’s got a lot of contacts in the industry + he’s in North America as well. Sure, in terms of blogging being in Australia isn’t a restriction for me, but in terms of being able to talk to people, broker deals…as you’d know the time difference works against us. I’d note its also why I think the blog will go on to bigger and better things in the future as well. Being in North America provides to new owner/ owners a lot of advantages in being able to actually talk to people in the industry when reporting on blog news, as well as attend things like blogging conferences and similar, things I’ve never been able to do.

In terms of it being worthwhile using Jeremy? I’d happily recommend him to others, he really know’s what he’s doing and he’s got contacts I simply don’t have.

Many people ask me how to value a blog – what factors did you weigh up when deciding upon an asking price?
This was in many ways the hardest part. Naturally I value it even more highly than what it sold for :-) I couldn’t give you an absolute way of calculating the value of a blog, but you’d be looking at things like
– profit of the blog and potential profit
– how long the blog has been going
– traffic
– PR and links inwards, and its place overall in the blogosphere
How you put a value on those things is another matter. We had 3 bids all pretty close to the same amount in terms of dollars so others have priced it in a similar fashion which is a positive. Because the market for sellling blogs is still very small its impossible to benchmark these things as well but I’d expect as the market grows this will change over time.

What will you do with the time freed up by not having Blog Herald (assuming you’re not continuing with it long term)?

I will be contributing for the time being, the exact length of time however hasn’t been finalised, although its likely to be a couple of months at this stage.

b5media has really become my full time job sine I went “pro” in December and I intend on using a lot of the extra time working in building up b5media.

I also would like to spend a little bit more time posting more regularly to my personal blog. Occasionally it will include blogging related topic but I’d like to explore tech and politics as well. Literally a free form blog of my thoughts and ideas. I also might pursue a couple of new projects, whether these are in b5media or outside of it has yet to be decided, but I always enjoy taking on new challenges.

If you were starting Blog Herald again today how would you do it differently?
That’s difficult to answer because I wouldn’t start The Blog Herald in 2006, its a lot more harder today to get your voice heard in the blogosphere and build up loyal readers and wide readership than it was in 2002-03 when your starting from scratch. In 2002 there was nothing around like the Blog Herald in terms of blog news, and whilst there are a few sites today covering similar area’s (Bloggers Blog comes to mind) and a few different imitators have come and gone, there really still isn’t a lot of other sites like it, in terms of the brand being stronger than the person (except of course for the uber-multi author blogs), for example when most people think of Problogger they think of you, Micro Persuasion Steve Rubel. Certainly whilst a lot of people who read Problogger would associate me with The Blog Herald, try searching a blog search engine for my name v The Blog Herald, and The Blog Herald will win out by a country mile. It was always meant to be this way, I wanted to build a brand, not me personally.

‘Do you want to buy now? I hear you might have some spare cash!’
Given the price equation of The Blog Herald equated to Problogger I’m probably about 75k US short :-)

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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